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2. Reflections on a Decade of International Law: Dark Ages or Renouveau?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with the new vocabulary of international law spewed by the post-cold war, post 9/11 world. This vocabulary which also reflects a shift in power relationships has served to undermine several areas of international law. The changes engendered in international law have not been a faithful reproduction of the political and social changes which have taken place, although there have been different ways of envisaging the exchange between international legal system and social change. Judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, despite sometimes inconsistent and conflicting judgments, have generally resisted the incorporation of certain facts. This of course may create a gap between fact and law and make the discipline vulnerable to sceptical critique. But paradoxically this gap may also contribute to the law's autonomy and its refusal to entrench certain developments may serve to erode the effectiveness of the factual situation itself.

Keywords: cultural pluralism; international law; law-making process; social change



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